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July 28, 1979 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-07-28

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Page 4-Saturday, July 28, 1979-The Michigan Daily
HMichigan Daily
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom
420 Maynard St. Ann Arbor. MI. 48109
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 54-S News Phone: 764-0552
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Mihigan
Shapiro's lead
adds flexibility
T HE NAMING of HaroldShapiro to lead this
University into the next decade portends able
leadership in budgetary matters and prudent
His tenure as vice-president for academic af-
fairs has been lauded widely as the best seen by
this University. That experience means Mr.
Shapiro is well-acquainted with current campus
issues, and realizes how they have been ap-
proached by his predecessors.
Although Mr. Shapiro's stances on topics suchy
as affirmative action and the future of the Univer-
sity's South African holdings are not yet clear, the
relevant comments he has made in the past in-
dicate minimal policy changes. The president-
elect told a small gathering at the International
Center on March 20 that universities should be
cautious in taking political stands on moral
issues, such as South African divestiture.
It is hoped that Mr. Shapiro recognizes that the
very existence of University investments in South
Africa takes a moral and political stand in favor
of the apartheid system there. The University
cannot hide behind concern for intellectual
freedom while its portfolio reinforces bondage for
the majority of a nation's residents.
Yesterday, Mr. Shapiro said fie apposes
divestment but that since the situation is in con-
stant flux, his stance is not rigid. He also said
there are some issues on which he thinks the
University should take a stance, but he did not
specify which ones. He added that when a
moral/political position is taken, one must be sure
the benefits outweigh the risks - that a blanket
policy appears to be unanimously supported by.
the entire University community.
On March 23, the president-elect said he ad-
vocated student input in the tenure process.
However, Mr. Shapiro said he does not feel
students have adequate "exposure and experien-
ce to make that kind of permanent decision, and it
is not a question of intelligence." Therefore, he
opposes students voting on tenure. Instead, he
said the entire tenure process should be examined
to appraise its viability.
This open-minded attitude toward a process so
ingrained in this University's very fiber is
refreshing. It is hoped he continues to question in-
stitutional fixtures that have remained uncon-
tested far too long.
"I am concerned about the minority problem,"
Mr. Shapiro also said that day, referring to the
small number of minority faculty members. It is
hoped that his concern on this critical issue
carries over to ardent support of the University's
affirmative action efforts. Declining minority
enrollment and rising minority attrition also
demand presidential attention and leadership.
The main question about any new leader is
which sector of his diverse constituency will be
served. We hope he will serve students, faculty,
alumni and the state with like devotion. But
history demonstrates that student concerns tend
to be allotted a backseat priority. We sincerely
hopethis trend is not repeated by MVIr. Shapiro. His
affi iy With Economics Dept. faculty, other ad-
ministrators, and students should prevent
isolation from overshadowing his judgment.

'Shapiro s record
and familiarity
with the system
provide an edge

THE WOODEN nameplate was
in the usual position on the
broad table which dominates the
Regents Room in the Ad-
ministration Building yesterday
morning. But the corresponding
leather chair was conspicuously
empty. Blinding lights, set up for
television cameras and
photographers, were fixed on one
man seated at the head of the
table-University President-
elect Harold Shapiro.
Throughout the 10-month
presidential search process, little
information leaked from those
involved. Only recently did it
become apparentthat te current
University vice-president for
academic affairs was under
serious consideration for the post
vacated by Robben Fleming last
January. Regent Robert
Nederlander (D-Birmingham)
said at yesterday's special
Regents meeting that a field of
240 potential candidates was
reviewed before Shapiro was
chosen, more than one of them
from inside the University.
Before the search began, the
Regents examined reports on the
needs of the University submitted
by all three advisory committees,
from which they devised a list of
a president's desirable qualities.
But that list of 19 ideal charac-
teristics did not, and could not,
have included an intricate, per-
sonal, social, and academic
familiarity with this University.
MANY OF THOSE considered
to replace Fleming were not con-
nected with the University. In
fact, most Regents stressed that
Shapiro's experience in Ann Ar-
bor was less important than his
leadership and administrative
abilities, as well as his strong
economic background. But the
fact that Shapiro, who at 44 is a
nationally prominent economist,
has worked within the University
network for 15years, is an advan-
tage for an institution of such
prestigous stature.
Issues such as faculty tenure,
divestment from firms doing
business in South Africa, and af-
firmative action are common to
college campuses across the
country. But the approach each
university takes to address these
topics is unique to that in-

Since the Washtenaw County
coalition Against Apartheid is
determined to persuade the
Regents to divest, and even
Regent Sarah Power (D-Ann Ar-
bor) has questioned tenure prac-
tices, the critical apex of pressure
is yet to come. Shapiro, as
University vice-president for
academic affairs, has witnessed
the corporate aspect of the
University and is familiar with
the techniques it uses in confron-
ting such issues. That can only be
to his advantage-and it is a war-
ning to those lobbying the ad-
the system so well, he is in a
position to manipulate it to steer
this school on the course he
deems correct. If that course con-
flicts with one envisioned by
challengers of the ad-
ministration, they will have dif-
ficulty altering the one Shapiro
Shapiro has spent 15 years as
an instructor, advisor, commit-
tee member, department chair-
man, administrator, and resear-
cher at the University. The ex-
periences he acquired in those
positions may reassure some in-
dividuals in the University com-
munity that he does indeed un-
derstand their problems. Shapiro
can use that understanding to en-
courage an open administration
that is willing to listen to
viewpoints from all sectors of the
likely from Interim President
Allan Smith's reign to that of
Shapiro. The University com-
munity need not prepare for a
sudden jolt when Shapiro
assumes the presidency in
January, since the new president
has experienced the adjustment
period when he assumed the vice-
president's post and knows what
to expect. Shapiro enjoys the un-
divided support of the University
Board of Regents, who have
already observed him in many
roles here.

But Shapiro's understanding of
the gears to shift in making the
University run was not an
"overriding factor" in the Regen-
ts' decision, according to Regent
Thomas Roach (D-Saline). But it
was a "consideration," in that
Shapiro "knows the University,
which is a complex place." The
Regents indicated that Shapiro's
established relationship with
Gov. William Milliken and his
staff as well as the state
legislature, will be welcome in
the next decade. Those years are
clouded with forecasts of declining
enrollment, diminishing state
appropriations, and a receding
"The University of Michigan
represents a special idea; an idea
that holds that the respon-
sibilities of education, scholar-
ship, and public service, far from
being in an inevitable state of
tension within a great University,
can be molded into a self-
supporting and powerful.
creative effort that serves to
enrich our society," Shapiro told
the spectators in the Regents
Room yesterday. Sounding more
like a candidate for political of-
fice than one who has been
chosen president of a major
university, Shapiro's optimistic
rhetoric cannot be taken as
anything more. To hold him to
"campaign promises" in the
future is unfair; but to hold him
to those requirements outlined as
necessary by the Regents is an
obligation of the University
Now the University must take
Regent Power's advice: "Get
several pairs of track shoes and
begin to move ahead." The era of
Fleming and his aura of
diplomacy have passed. Now the
University must look to the next
decade: its new complexities and
leadership under the youthful,
hopeful Harold Shapiro.
l./ize/''/ Su.s/O i Fhe0 Sirlll, e'r
Oatlv Editor-Il/-Chie/

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